‘Pawpaw and goats testing positive’ – Tanzania’s Magufuli doubts country’s COVID-19 numbers

Nii Ntreh May 4, 2020 at 05:00pm

May 04, 2020 at 05:00 pm | News

Nii Ntreh

Nii Ntreh | Associate Editor

May 04, 2020 at 05:00 pm | News

Tanzania's President John Magufuli addresses a news conference during his official visit to Nairobi, Kenya October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

The president of Tanzania, John Magufuli, has expressed skepticism about the country’s numbers of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, alleging that “probably, the technicians are also bought to mislead.”

Magufuli addressed his country on Sunday about the progress being made by the east African nation against the pandemic. He was quite adamant that the number the country’s national laboratory had churned out was mistaken.

“The equipment or people may be compromised and sometimes it can be sabotage…” said Magufuli.

The president then added that he was privy to results from tests he had secretly ordered to be carried on fruits and animals. Magufuli alleged that tests on a papaya fruit, a quail and a goat came back positive.

He said he suspected a “dirty game”. He also entertained the possibility of “technical errors or these imported reagents have issues.”

The occasion on Sunday also saw the swearing-in of Tanzania’s new Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs Mwigulu Nchemba, who the president tasked to “go and investigate if there is criminal possibility at the national laboratory and take action”.

Meanwhile, Tanzania, along with Comoros, are the latest countries that are to import the purported COVID-19 herbal cure announced by Madagascar. According to reports, the leaders of both countries confirmed their interest over the weekend.

Tanzania currently has 480 cases of COVID-19 with 18 deaths. The country is however one of the few on the continent where the government has refused to implement lockdown measures.

On Sunday, President Magufuli reiterated his support to keep places of worship open.

“It’s strange to stop believers from entering a mosque which they built themselves. If you fear going there, let others go and pray. By the way we are still in the elementary stage of coronavirus,” he said.

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